Monthly Archives: April 2020

The New (Form of) Work: CAS SEE Fellowship 2020/21

As the isolation period began taking its remote-work and restrictive-movement-measurements form, it had slowly begun being clear to us that our work is not “simply” being put to a pause, the famous “halt” and wait, but rather, that we have entered a new stage of organizing our endeavors. One of the immediate tasks which had had to be provided for was the Centre’s work around the CAS SEE Fellowship 2020/2021.

The Inauguration Day had been planned to follow Prof. Balibar’s lecture on engagement at the Moise Palace on the island of Cres. The date set was March 14th, 2020, which had coincided with Northern Italy and Slovenia closing their borders as the COVID-19 crisis escalated in Lombardy and Veneto, our neighboring regions. Had this not taken place, our seven fellows, six of whom from the most affected parts in Northern Italy, would have spent their April being “isolated” within the Moise palace and developing new insights and forms of rethinking the (immediate) environment and related issues.

Instead, it was “the environment” Who had responded by confining us to ourselves and what we tend to perceive as “our immediate lives”; relieving us from all social contact (that with our friends and colleagues as well as that with random humans) and assigning us to “our rooms”, the place one goes to find solitude, dormancy and where a child goes to endure punishment in form of involuntary reflection… (That is, provided one has a room of one’s own to go, to begin with.) So have all ten of us been condemned to virtual meetings and a completely transformed work reality and goals, as has the rest of the laptop-using world. Consequently and spontaneously, we have begun to transform our “talking” and to find new places to address some of the social issued arisen from the “2020 COVID-19 Isolation (Spring?)” – opening up from our kitchens or deliberately from in front of white walls, and with an occasional child running through a frame or the sound of a new-born, just loud enough to make us all smile. Things have certainly changed at the CAS SEE work meetings.

Gathered virtually from four countries, we have begun discussing and contemplating current projects when it became evident that new ones should be on the way, given the idea and impression input. With many questions still open, the evident lack and deprivation in terms of sharing both time and place altogether, and not without frustration (of every type one can experience while trying to communicate work and life) – the first Digital CAS SEE Fellowship is at the moment and fairly spatially-dispersed being although “forcibly piloted”, gaining daily on purpose, clarity, and enthusiasm.

Having been challenged so multi-levelled, this year’s Spring Fellowship has no alternative but to, appropriately enough, digitally respond to some hardly harmless and surely severe social implications and changes that have ever been experienced collectively.

“Architectures of Vision” – Call for Papers

The Call for Papers for our 2020 conference, “Architectures of Vision,” is now open!

International Association for Visual Culture’s 6th biennial conference in cooperation with the Department of Cultural Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Rijeka

University of Rijeka, Croatia / September 10 – 12, 2020 / Submissions due May 1, 2020

“[T]he important thing is neither what was said (a content), nor the saying itself (an act), but rather the transformation, and the invention of still unsuspected mechanisms that will allow us to multiply the transformations.” Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life

Architecture etymologically belongs to the order of power. Stemming from Greek and Latin, it means “master builder”, derived from archon, chief. Historically, it is understood as building with the vision of the upward, the improved, that is to say an ideal of progress. For its 2020 conference, the International Association for Visual Culture proposes, however, a different formulation of architecture–one of layering, of consciously building from something rather than of scripted building that seeks to level or eliminate the past. What can it mean when we think of architecture as a horizontal network–even a strategy–of different, converging and simultaneous processes?

Our 2020 theme–The Architecture of Vision–unites this lateral, at times instinctive, at times impromptu idea of architecture with a central topic of visual culture–namely vision and visuality. Vision is a central topic of visual culture, a discipline that for a couple of decades now has been trying to (re)imagine the world around us by taking into account the interplay between logos and imago, order and imagination.

Key terms for topics:

  • palimpsestic knowledge
  • propaganda in visual culture (historical and contemporary)
  • origins of change
  • monuments and architecture interventions in public space
  • revolution and counter-revolution: from local case studies to global critical thought subject formation (online/virtual and offline/IRL)
  • building vision: from the visuality of the “subaltern” to surveillance vision
  • visuality in cultural studies and ethnography visual culture, power and control
  • local case studies from Southeast Europe to the Global South: problems and opportunities
  • the subject of decentralized vision: participatory culture, emancipation and the digital
  • archivization / archive as architecture

The topic of this year’s conference seeks to better understand the processes of vision that remake our world as a kind of architectural layering. We seek historical and contemporary topics that respond to these three different strands:

  • First, architecture can be appropriated for the uses of literally “building a vision”, or creating a vision. Here, we are thinking of both the “countervisual” that is imagined and then acted upon–that is to say, made material in an architecture that has both an order and flexibility, which may be applied, reapplied, and grow. We are also thinking of the populist practices of the alt-right and other movements that oppose social or climate justice, whose philosophy and action are built on the production of a worldview based on “alternative facts” and feeling. In other words, how do movements rely on vision as much as infrastructure, i.e. “master building”? In what ways does contemporary visual culture help enable these counter-revolutionary practices, and in what ways can it be used as a weapon of critical thought against them?
  • Therefore, we seek to inspect vision also on a temporal level: as clairvoyance, the process of seeing the future. What is the future of visual culture? How are we to deal with new concepts in the field of cultural studies (from climate crisis to migration or redefinitions of gender, citizenship, and subjectivity on a global scale, to local important struggles specific to a region)? How do we re-articulate those concepts within the frameworks of Visual Culture Studies, including its counter-hegemonic and anti-colonial approach?

Finally, we wish to inspect vision as one of the central themes of visual culture. Vision as a way of seeing, placing the one who looks in the forefront. How is a subject placed in the position of looking? Who is a subject? What is the position of looking today, in a world without a stable vantage point? Can we still insist on the notion of a subject, if the Renaissance position of the stable agent of the look and its object is no longer useful in the digital realm of intersubjective exchange, deep fakes, bots, and algorithms? In other words, how can we reimagine vision as a process of political and cultural emancipation as the world exists today?

We seek proposals for short (20 minute) papers and creative presentations. The IAVC’s conferences work to achieve a balance between thoughtful and attentive listening and animated discussion. Speakers will be prepared for both.

Please submit your 300 to 400 word proposal, a 100 to 200 word biography in a single running Word document or PDF to greetingsIAVC@gmail.com by May 1, 2020. Please title your document in the form of “your surname_abstract_IAVC2020”.

We will announce our conference program in late Spring 2020.

Confirmed guests include: David Ayala-Alfonso (Independent Curators International, USA/Colombia); Manca Bajec (Biennial Foundation, London/New York); Brooke Belisle (Stony Brook University, USA); Irene Chien (Muhlenberg College, USA); Jae Emerling (The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA); Jennifer González (University of California Santa Cruz, USA); Natalija Majsova (Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium and University of Ljubljana, Slovenia); Joanne Morra (Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London, UK); Rahul Mukherjee (University of Pennsylvania, USA); Krešimir Purgar (Academy of Arts and Culture, J. J. Strossmayer University, Croatia); Irit Rogoff (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK); Marquard Smith (University College London, UK / Vilnius Academy of Arts, Lithuania); Nina Trivedi (Royal College of Art, UK); and Øyvind Vågnes (University of Bergen, Norway).